The 18th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature convened on the floor of the House of Representatives in Austin, Texas, July 14-18. Eight-five delegates from 28 districts in Texas were sworn in for a two-year term by the Honorable Donna Howard, member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 48.
Among the sworn delegates was Kingsville resident Leo Alarcon. The former City of Kingsville Tourism Director and Kleberg County Clerk will be representing the Coastal Bend Region and will be replacing Mark Walsh.
Alarcon is an alumnus of Texas A&M University-Kingsville and holds both bachelor's and master's degrees. He also has continuing education hours from the Texas College of Probate Judges, the University of Texas School of Law in Austin and the Texas A&M University Extension Service Center in College Station. He is a member of the Kingsville Rotary Club, where he is a Paul Harris Fellow and former president.
The five-day meeting was the first of three TSHL sessions scheduled for the year. The delegates will research senior issues in Texas, prepare resolutions for proposed legislation, pass them through committee and vote on them in full chamber next May. Approved resolutions will be included in a 2020 TSHL Legislative Report that will be delivered to all legislators, as well as to the Governor and Lt. Governor, in advance of the 2021 State session.
The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature is a non-partisan body created by the 69th Texas Legislature with the adoption of SCR 37, on April 3, 1985. Since its inception, some 684 seniors have been elected to serve in TSHL. The vision of TSHL is that “the applied wisdom, energy, and experience of aging will improve the lives of all Texans through education, knowledge, and involvement in legislation and governmental affairs.”
Among the legislation that the advocacy group has worked in past sessions to get enacted into law is legislation that increased the financial strength of the Teacher Retirement System pension plan, created the Silver Alert for missing seniors, increased the personal needs allowance to $60 for Medicaid nursing home residents, allowed grandparent caregivers to make educational and medical decisions for a grandchild without having custodial rights, and enhanced criminal degree and fines for those who perpetrate Internet Fraud against seniors.